It's October. That means, at least here in Pittsburgh, everyone is beginning to talk about how to commemorate the terrible thing that happened here last October 27, when some guy from the suburbs drove into our Squirrel Hill neighborhood, went into the Tree of Life synagogue, murdered 11 people, injured others, and traumatized many more. … Continue reading Relighting the Tree of Life
At some point during my many years of working in an office, I developed the habit of making a cup of peppermint tea as soon as I got to work every morning. I'm less consistent when I'm between jobs (as I am now) so I'm not necessarily sitting down at the computer every morning--but peppermint … Continue reading Peppermint Tea: Healthy Helper or Just Hot Water?
I stepped into an aisle in my local library's fiction section and checked out the first two books that looked good. Each of them turned out to be the first novel by an author experienced in another type of writing--Erin Kelly is a journalist, and Richard Kramer is a television scriptwriter. Both of them are … Continue reading Two First Novels by Authors Starting with K [book reviews]
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks
My daughter Lydia is about to start kindergarten and is not really reading yet, only recognizing about 10 words. That's fine. When I was her age, I was reading on about a fourth-grade level, and that was fine, too--except that I got bored with the books in my classroom. My father mentioned to a co-worker … Continue reading Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]
The Biggest Little Farm and Symbiotic Earth are two informative films that are fun to watch--perfect for raising awareness of ecosystems and how we can live in harmony.
Here are four books I read to myself and two I read to my daughter Lydia in the past month. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty Nine people check into a ten-day wellness retreat in rural Australia. Three of them are a family, two others are a couple, but otherwise they've never met before. Each … Continue reading Books for Myself; Books to Read to my 5-year-old
I haven't written any book reviews since January, but I've been reading! These books are very different from one another, but a lot of the covers have a certain color scheme. Beige isn't always boring! I really like some of these cover designs. Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham Rowan is a 21st-century teenager with a … Continue reading Beige Book Reviews
This year I've been helping with a local challenge to reduce single-use plastics. My church hosted a screening of Plastic Paradise, a documentary I highly recommend for learning more about where plastic stuff goes when we throw it "away." Of course we wanted to serve some snacks to welcome people to our parish hall and … Continue reading Party Without Plastic! How to serve less trashy refreshments
I recently read two novels translated into English, a book written in English that attempts to translate "boy world" into ideas parents can understand, and an English mystery with some parallels to the Swedish mystery I'd just read. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum A young man finds … Continue reading Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Most of my life, I've enjoyed reading the same books over and over--not too often, but returning to old favorites every few years. I noticed that what felt like "a few years" increased as I got older, but then when I was pregnant with my daughter I suddenly wanted to read only books that were … Continue reading Two Books to Read Once
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
I wrote a short review of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I have more to say about this book. The author is a marriage counselor whose experience with clients led him to identify 5 distinct ways of expressing love and to recognize that the acts that convey to you that someone really … Continue reading more about The 5 Love Languages
Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I read in the past month. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty There are multiple husbands with multiple secrets in this twisty story, which is sort of a mystery but also an excellent "modern realistic fiction" novel with lots of complex characters. Cecilia finds a … Continue reading Princess X and The Husband’s Secret Love Languages [book reviews]
Twenty years ago, I saw a catalog filled with practical household products that were better for the environment than the stuff we'd been using: laundry and dish and cleaning products made from plants and natural minerals, paper products made from recycled paper, tampons and cloth towels made from organic cotton. I was excited! But I'd … Continue reading Go Green in 2018: Can You Afford to Buy Greener Products?
Sometimes it takes me a while to get through a book, even if I'm interested in it, because other things are easier to read or more compelling. I had just started Awakening to the Great Sleep War when it started to seem very confusing, and then I realized that I was coming down with a … Continue reading Awakening to The Lake House or Drop City [book reviews]
This article by Daniel gives more detail about one of the space-saving ideas listed in Becca's article at Kitchen Stewardship: I’ve enjoyed rock climbing since I was pretty young, but these days I don’t actually get out to climb on rocks very often. I do tend to climb on stuff at the playground when I take … Continue reading How to Build a Gym in Your Hallway
The books I've read in the past month were set in a variety of locales. News of the World by Paulette Jiles Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels around Texas in the 1870s, buying newspapers when he can and stopping in small towns to invite people to pay a dime each to hear him reading aloud … Continue reading The World, the Woods, the Moor, Cranbury, and Florin [book reviews]